Internet, Cloud Connect, Fiber, Wavelength Transport (Lambda), Ethernet Transport
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What is NCREN?

The North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) is a 4,400+ mile fiber optic network owned and operated by MCNC. It is one of America’s longest-running regional research and education networks. With 40 years of innovation and success, this powerful broadband infrastructure scales to meet the service delivery needs to communities across the state while providing agile and responsive services that support and enhance economic development, collaboration, and innovation in the 21st century.


How it Works:

MCNC, through its operation of NCREN, provides access to a variety of fiber optic-based, computing and education services for K-12 schools, community colleges, private and public universities, research and nonprofit healthcare institutions, libraries, public safety offices, and state and local governments across North Carolina.

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The infrastructure MCNC provides through NCREN delivers vital communication networks between community anchor institutions (CAIs).

NCREN’s communication solutions work with public safety institutions to ensure they communicate swiftly and effectively through high-speed broadband and transport services across the state. This includes connecting public safety institutions to the VIPER (Voice Interoperability Plan for Emergency Responders) system infrastructure.

MCNC’s clients at research institutions are also given a strong competitive advantage through NCREN with high-speed internet propelling research in areas of healthcare, clinical trials, science and technology, weather services, and a wide variation of initiatives led by some of the brightest minds on North Carolina’s research campuses.

MCNC’s NCREN also connects 100% of all 115 public K-12 local education agencies (LEAs) and currently more than 80% of charter schools. This is in large part due to the establishment of the School Connectivity Initiative in 2007, which began the work MCNC continues today in expanding the number of schools with broadband internet access, developing communication networks for rural and under-performing schools, aiding in professional development for technology staff, and developing a scalable model to maintain and enhance network services to all schools in North Carolina.

In addition to K-12, higher education institutions have been valued clients of MCNC since 1980, and NCREN provides a foundation for colleges, universities, and the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS). NCREN also serves educational cultural institutions such as museums and aquariums.

Broadband is essential for all levels of education, and NCREN is a world-class solution for our education community.

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Education Services

In addition to providing the communications and connectivity backbone for North Carolina’s CAIs and schools, through NCREN, MCNC provides workshops, seminars and courses for our clients in networking technologies, cybersecurity and other related areas to better enable our customers to serve the students and citizens of North Carolina, and foster the growth of essential businesses in the state. Included in these Education Services, NCREN clients have access to:

  • MCNC Community Day, in which we offer a whole range of speakers, subject matter experts and any other seminars to share ways clients can securely connect their systems and participate in vital initiatives affecting our community.
  • Teachers at Work, in which educators from across the state get a hands-on look at MCNC’s operations and the wealth of opportunities that are open to their students in networking, cybersecurity and other technology fields.
  • Students at Work, in which students from across the state are exposed to opportunities in broadband, high tech and cybersecurity. Thirty years later, we still receive comments from network engineers, patent lawyers and other professionals about the important role NCREN played in their career trajectory.
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NCREN fiber provides high-performance computing resources to community anchor institutions both small and large as well as the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI).

Virtual Computing: As part of NCREN, MCNC uses enterprise-grade servers, hypervisors and storage to host managed or self-managed virtual machines for our customers. These Virtual Machines (VM) are built to customer specifications in memory, disk space, and processor cores, and can be combined with other MCNC data center services so customers can host services in the cloud without the facility upgrades and manual upkeep. Customers use NCREN’s VM for a broad range of in-house functions such as Computing in the Cloud, support for developers, testing new software without affecting the primary system, and investigating malware by testing it in a fresh isolated machine.

Healthcare institutions are increasingly reliant on Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), and internet-enabled services, and physicians require high-speed and secure broadband connectivity to provide services and care.

By enabling high-performance computing, NCREN is able to serve the community with its Data Center, an off-site 24x7x365 secure facility to provide services and keep data safe in the event of a disaster, emergency, or sudden power loss.

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We have been extremely pleased with MCNC's service and the cost savings it provides that we now have every one of our locations on an MCNC connection to their backbone, NCREN.
Headshot of Phillip Allen

Phillip Allen

Senior Director of Informatics
Eastern Carolina University School of Dental Medicine

Connectivity Resources

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Network performance monitoring

Understanding VLANS

Troubleshooting Traffic Flow Through Cisco ASA Firewalls

Performance monitoring easy as Pi

Basic Networking Utilities II

Campus Network Design – High level overview of campus network design and operation

DDoS – Video

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PO Box 12889
3021 East Cornwallis Road
RTP, NC 27709-2889
919-248-1900 Phone | 919-248-1101 Fax
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